top of page

The Core of Tantra: Meditation

Dear Friends,

Welcome to this latest blog post. Since you are here, reading this, I deduce that you have an interest in Tantra. So in the interest of engagement, here's a question for you: What do you think is the core of Tantra? The essence of Tantra? Is it....

Intimacy? Embodiment? Trauma release? Self-acceptance? Integration of the shadow? Self-knowledge?

Well, in the time I have studied and practiced Tantra, I have discovered there is one thing that forms the core of Tantra; it is indispensable, and it necessarily includes and brings forth all the qualities mentioned above. It is...wait for it....


Yes, that's right. Meditation. True tantra will have at its heart the practice of meditation, a truly essential practice that brings about deep self-knowledge and realization. Any true path of tantra will include this practice. Meditation.

Many, many words have been written and spoken on the subject of meditation, but the most important thing about meditation is that we actually do it and experience the benefits for ourselves. So, how? We may have heard or read that meditation is complicated or daunting, that we must exhaustively train our minds to not think at all, that we need to sit in difficult and often uncomfortable postures, often for hours, until we attain this exalted state of "meditation." And as a result, many of us don't even try to meditate; we are discouraged before we even begin. But, let me tell you a secret: Meditation is actually easy. And joyful. And surprisingly natural. This is because true meditation is the experience of our natural state, a state that Indian scripture calls "sacchidananda""Being. Consciousness. Bliss." "'I exist.' 'I am aware I exist.' 'My true nature is Consciousness and bliss.'"

The Yoga Sutras attributed to Patanjali, considered one of the most important works on the yoga of meditation, offers many teachings on the practice of meditation. These teachings paradoxically seem both simple and complex at the same time. The good news is that, for the beginner of meditation, we can keep things really easy. So, with that in mind, let's explore the simplicity of meditation now:

There are 3 main elements in the Yoga Sutras that can help us in beginning or streamlining our meditation practice: Asana, Pranayama and Samadhi. These are Sanskrit terms. Sanskrit is the ancient spiritual language of India. To keep things really simple and doable, let’s name these 3 main elements this way:

  1. Asana is posture.

  2. Pranayama is breath.

  3. Samadhi is the state of meditation in which we are absorbed in the joy of our true nature.

Asana: Let's focus first on asana: posture. You may have heard of the full lotus, half lotus, or perfect posture, or you may not have heard of them. You may find it easy to sit cross-legged on the floor, or perhaps you find it difficult. Here’s the point: find a posture that is comfortable for you that keeps the spine naturally upright. Please note that we are not talking ramrod straight spine here; the spine is naturally curved. It needs this natural curve to effectively hold the body without strain. Experiment a little and find what works for you. You may find that sitting on the floor cross-legged is comfortable and works for you. Put a cushion or folded blanket under your buttocks to ensure your knees are lower than your hips; this will help you keep your spine naturally upright and maintain the gentle curve in your lower back.

You may find that sitting on a chair works better, particularly if you have not had much practice at sitting on the floor. The most important thing is be both comfortable and alert: find this balance. For now: Sit comfortably upright. Feel your buttocks on the floor or chair beneath you. Relax your shoulders. Fold your hands on your lap or rest them gently on your knees. Relax your jaw. Slightly tuck your chin in towards your chest so that your head is bowing a little. This will help naturally elongate your neck and relax your jaw. Relaxing your jaw helps your entire body to relax.

Pranayama: Breath. Pranayama contains a huge number of breath control techniques, but they arguably all have one purpose in mind: to equalize the inbreath and outbreath. This equalization is important. When the inbreath and outbreath are even, we naturally glide into a tranquil state.

For our purposes, all we need to do is simply watch our breath. Watch the breath as it comes in and out. There’s no need to force anything or try to change how you breathe. Just watch the natural flow of your breath. Since it is the mind’s role to think, it will wander from the breath at times. When this happens, gently bring your awareness back to your breath. Make a habit of doing this. After a while, the inbreath and outbreath will equalize, and then we enter the next state, the state of samadhi.

Samadhi: Absorption in meditation. Now that we have prepared ourselves with our posture and breathing, we have made ourselves available to the state of meditation. As I mentioned earlier, meditation is actually a natural state for us; we have just forgotten about meditation due to our "busy-ness". Once we know how to calm our mind through sitting quietly and observing the breath, we can experience the peace and stillness that already exists within us. Calming the mind can take time. It’s a bit like taming a horse. It takes time and patience. The important thing is not to be discouraged. With regular meditation practice, calming the mind becomes easier and easier. And, if it seems that when you sit to meditate all you are doing is sitting watching your mind go here and there, don’t worry. Use it as an opportunity to observe your mind and see up close how it works. What does it think about? What is it attached to? What is it attracted to? What does it recoil from? It is very beneficial to simply watch the mind. It helps us to understand it at a very deep level.

So, there you have it. A very simple, natural way to meditate. It's easy. Really! Give it a try. Try this practice of meditation 9 to 20 minutes a day at a time that works for you. You can gradually increase the time when you are ready. The more you meditate, the more you realize the benefits that a meditation practice can bring into your life: joy, stillness, peace, equanimity, acceptance, and more. The most important thing is to meditate regularly. The benefits of meditation accrue over time. Give yourself this gift and see what happens.

Best Wishes to you for your meditation practice!


bottom of page